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LETTER XIX

ISCHARYAR                                   83

single camp after leaving Arjanak, and were quite un-
molested during a halt of two nights; but it is an atmo-
sphere of danger and possible treachery.

Camp Badush, at a height of 9100 feet, though shut
in by high mountains, was cool—a barren, rocky, treeless
spot. A great deal of bituminous shale was lying about,
which burned in the camp-fires fairly well, but with a
black heavy smoke and a strong smell.

The limestone fragments which lay about, on being
split, emitted a powerful odour of bitumen. Farther up
the gully there is a chalybeate spring, and the broken
fragments of the adjacent rocks are much stained with
iron. After a restful halt we retraced our route by a low
path which avoided the difficult precipices above the
Badush, forded it several times, crossed a low pass,
descended to the valley of the Mauri Zarin, forded the
river, and marched for some miles along its left bank, till
the valley opened on great grassy slopes, the skirts of the
rocky spurs which buttress the grand mountain Shuturun,
the " Camel Mountain," so called from its shape. It was
a very uninteresting march, through formless gravelly
hills, with their herbage all eaten down, nothing remain-
ing but tamarisk scrub and a coarse yellow salvia. There
were neither camps nor travellers ; indeed, one need never
look for camps where there is no herbage.

This is a charming camping-ground covered with fine
turf, damp, I fear, and some of the men are " down"
with fever and rheumatism. There is space to see who
comes and who goes, and though the altitude is only
8400 feet, last night was quite cool. Ischaryar, Aziz
Khan's devoted young servant, the gentlest and kindest
Bakhtiari I have seen, became quite ill of acute rheu-
matism with fever, and felt so very ill and weak that he
thought he was going to die. I sent some medicine to
him, but he would not take it, saying that his master had